Habits of the rich that allow them to build their fortunes

by James Stillston

Tom Corley could have been a nondescript accountant filling in the tax returns of people and businesses in New Jersey, where his firm Cerefice & Co. operates.However, 10 years ago a book twisted its fate: it was titled Rich Habits and he wrote it the same. “Success is elusive,” he wrote. “Why? Why are the rich so rich? From those questions began an investigation that took him out of his office, and into the world, and several books later (Rich Kids; Change Your Habits, Change Your Life and Rich Habits, Poor Habits) remain current. Because, both then and now, 85% of the millionaires in the United States were not born rich, but it was something that they did to become such.

Not an act, like a stroke of luck. On the contrary: something they did regularly. The rich have, the author found, rich habits.

“Corley spent five years studying millionaires,” Business Insider introduced it. “He found that people who got rich practiced many habits in common, such as reading constantly, exercising, sleeping at least seven hours and taking time to think every day.” In all, about 300 habits separate the rich from the middle class and the poor, he found.

His comprehensive research included interviews with 233 wealthy people (214 men and 14 women) and 128 poor people (114 men and 14 women) over three years. He did not focus on billionaires, but on what he considered most important when establishing a hypothesis about how someone who is not born a millionaire (177 of the 233 interviewees, of which 41% came from poor households and 59% of the middle class) manages to be. Thus, the average patrimony of his chosen ones was USD 3.2 million at the time of the study.

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From 20 broad questions with almost 150 derived questions about his daily activities, Corley obtained more than 50,000 responses that gave him access to a huge amount of data, which he organized into 346 data sections. “I gathered information from both groups about their careers or employment,” he explained, “spending habits, academic performance, education, perceptions of wealth and poverty, health, inheritance, gambling, home ownership, time management, beliefs, vacations, volunteering, contact and voting networks ”. Then he spent a year and a half analyzing everything.

“What characteristics do they have that makes them so successful? Few people ever find out. Unfortunately, “How to be financially successful in life” is not a subject taught in schools. We are all in the same boat, trying to find out, through trial and error, on our own, ”he wrote in Rich Habits.

Nobody bothers to have intelligence, talent and charm, but according to Corley’s research they are not factors that weigh in differentiating rich and poor. “The differences are in the daily habits, these unconscious activities, which are like a second skin, which occupy 40% of our waking hours. That is, two out of every five minutes, every day. Habits are neural shortcuts that are stored in the basal ganglia ”. This allows the brain to save energy, as a kind of automatic pilot for decision making.

His findings on the daily habits of people with money allowed him to create his “Rich Habits Program”, which he designed as a guide that since 2009 has been updated and has a website. “Wealth is not a by-product of luck, education, hard work, or inheritance. Financial success is a fool-proof process, ”he warned.

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The book, which abounds in case narration, also presents some of the Rich Habits that its title promises. Among them, these are some of the most important:

Millionaires constantly read

“88% of wealthy people spend 30 minutes or more each day educating themselves or improving themselves through reading,” Corley wrote. “Most do not read for entertainment, but to gain or maintain knowledge.” The fact that they read to improve themselves “separates them from the rest of the competition,” he explained: “By increasing their knowledge they can see more opportunities, which means more money. In comparative terms, only one in 50 people with financial problems does this type of daily self-training reading, and consequently the poor do not grow professionally ”.

Among the types of books that millionaires read, three groups stood out, he observed: biographies of successful people (58%), personal development (55%) and history (51%). On the way to their offices, 63% listen to audiobooks and 94% find out about the news. Only 11% read for entertainment. 86% believe that improvement through education is a program for a lifetime, against 5% of those without resources.

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Three out of four exercise every day

And one guy in particular: “76% of the wealthy do aerobic exercise for 30 minutes or more every day,” Corley wrote. Running, jogging, walking, or biking, for example, are aerobic exercises; Also use a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical at a gym. “Aerobic exercise is not only good for the body, but also for the brain,” he added. Exercise “increases the production of glucose, which is the gasoline of the brain,” he analyzed. “The more gasoline we give the brain, the more it grows and the smarter we become.”

By comparison, 76% do aerobic exercise four times a week, while only 23% of the poor do so.

In addition, 70% of people with resources consume less than 300 calories a day from junk food, while 97% of the poor consume more than 300 calories from fried foods, cookies, sugary soft drinks, sweets, cakes, pizza, hot dogs, etc.

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They meet with other successful people

“You are just as successful as those you meet frequently,” Corley wrote. “The wealthy are always looking for individuals who are goal oriented, optimistic and enthusiastic, and have a generally positive mental outlook.” Of similar importance seems be avoid the opposite: “Negative and destructive criticism will make us go off the path in which we seek success.”

Almost 90% of millionaires spend at least 30 minutes a day building rich relationships. If one considers those who dedicate five or more hours per month to contacts, the comparison between rich and poor is striking: 79% versus 16%, respectively, do so.

In particular, those who were born in the middle or lower class and became rich “do various things every day to maintain and develop powerful relationships,” he stressed. Between them:

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They sleep at least seven hours a day and get up early

“Sleep is central to being successful,” Corley wrote. In their study, 89% of people who became millionaires over the course of their journey reported that they sleep at least seven hours a day. “Behind the scenes, the dream makes great achievements,” he recalled.

They also get up early, and 44% of those surveyed said they got up three hours before the time when they would actually start their work, against 3% of the poor. Why?

“It is a strategy to cope with the inevitable daily interruptions, such as traffic or having to pick up a child from school,” he said as an example. If before starting the routine you have already resolved one or two objectives of the day, you can make room among your occupations for common inconveniences.

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“These interruptions have a psychological effect on us. They can seep into our unconscious and eventually forge the belief that we have no control over our lives, “according to Corley.” Getting up at five in the morning to tackle the three main things we want to accomplish in the day allows us to regain control of our lives. lives. It gives us a sense of confidence that one, in reality, is the one who directs one’s life. “

They spend 15 to 30 minutes a day thinking

“Thinking is key to the success of the rich,” he observed. They tend to practice this habit in solitude, during the morning and for at least 15 minutes each day. “They spend time discussing ideas with themselves, about many things”: career, finances, health, happiness.

They also practice future projection techniques such as dreaming, which consists of building a hypothetical script for an ideal future. “In this process, you define your future self by imagining that all your dreams come true and you write it between 500 and 1,000 words.” 61% of the people who became millionaires through their own efforts carried out this practice or other similar strategic planning bases.

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They set their own goals

80% of the wealthy focus on achieving one goal at a time; only 12% of the poor do the same. With a particularity: instead of giving in to the pressures of other people’s dreams – what parents expect, what works in society – they define those objectives, which they then promote one by one.

“Pursuing your dreams and goals results in the greatest long-term happiness and the greatest accumulation of wealth,” Corley wrote. “Passion makes work fun. Passion gives us the energy, persistence, and focus to overcome failures, mistakes and rejection ”.

70% of millionaires set a goal of importance at the beginning of the year (only 3% of those who do not have money do so): that is equivalent to having a dream or a purpose.

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“Believe it or not, finding a purpose is easy,” Corley presented the process:

They have mentors and volunteer

“Finding a mentor accelerates the accumulation of wealth,” Corley wrote. “Successful mentors do more than simply influence our lives in positive ways. They are regularly and actively involved in our success by teaching us what to do and what not to do. They share with us valuable life lessons that they learned from their own mentors or from the blows that life gave them.

93% of millionaires who had mentors attributed their success to that person. “Finding such a teacher is one of the best and least painful ways to get rich. If we know our goals, we should find someone who has already achieved them. “

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They also volunteer: “Almost three-quarters of wealthy people volunteer for five hours a month. Among those who have financial problems, only one in 10 does ”.

In addition to volunteering itself, an added bonus is the company that sits on the committees of nonprofits – generally successful and resourceful people. “Developing personal relationships with these people often results in business relationships for the future,” he added. This is also why 70% of millionaires volunteer their children 10 hours or more each month, something that only happens with 3% of the children of those who have financial problems.

They look for different sources of income

Those who were born into the middle or lower classes and became millionaires did not limit themselves to a single source of income. “They developed multiple streams,” Corley wrote. “Three seems to be the magic number, according to my study: 65% had at least three streams of income that they had created before reaching the first million dollars.”

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Examples of these additional sources of income are property income, investments in the stock market, and shared ownership of a side business.

Savings were also an important marker: the rich save 20% of their net income.

They do not participate in games of chance

“Every week, 77% of those with financial difficulties play the lottery. Hardly anyone with money bets. Rich people don’t trust their wealth to good luck: they create their own good luck, ”emphasized the author of Rich Habits.

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They never give up

Financially successful people share three characteristics, according to Corley’s study: “Focus, persistence, and patience.” They never stop pursuing their goals, even if they suffer setbacks: “Those who became millionaires are persistent. They never give up on their dream. They would rather drown while the ship is sinking than give up, ”he wrote.

More than a quarter of his respondents said he failed at least once in his business, and he got up and moved on. “If we want to be successful in life, we have to endure adversity even if it seems endless,” he concluded.

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